Monday , Nov , 05 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Should Shaquille O’Neal Retire From Miami Heat?

O’Neal, as poorly as he’s played, isn’t hanging-on Evander Holyfield style. He still has value because he commands double-teams from opposing defenses. Throwing the ball inside to Shaq creates open looks for teammates …

Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune argues that Shaquille O’Neal is finished:

Shaquille O’Neal is done. I wouldn’t be surprised if he sought a buyout after this season, his 16th … O’Neal didn’t reach double figures in any category in his first two games, shooting 40 percent from the field and 14 percent on free throws. Scouts have commented on his lack of mobility.

"I did what I was supposed to," O’Neal said of passing out of double-teams.

No. Good big men can move and beat double-teams. O’Neal doesn’t seem able to do that anymore. Miami, by the way, lost again Sunday to Charlotte and is on a 16-game losing streak that includes the last two last season, a playoff sweep by the Bulls, an 0-7 mark in exhibitions and an 0-3 to start the season. Dwyane Wade had better be a combination of Jordan and Scottie Pippen when he returns.

My Quick Take: Quitting while you’re ahead isn’t the same as quitting. Miami has opened the season with three straight loses and Shaq looks like he should have quit years ago.

His mobility is gone. His athleticism is gone. His touch is gone. And his conditioning, well, that’s been gone for years, too.

O’Neal, as poorly as he’s played, isn’t hanging-on Evander Holyfield style. He still has value because he commands double-teams from opposing defenses. Throwing the ball inside to Shaq creates open looks for teammates.

And one of those teammates will soon be the great Dwyane Wade. Right now, ‘Flash’ is recovering from another injury. The superstar hasn’t played regularly since the 2006 playoffs, when he led Miami to an NBA Title.

With Shaq drawing extra defenders down-low, Wade will have more room to operate. And Miami should become a different team and secure a playoff spot.

But if his reunion with Wade fails, then Shaq should seriously consider quitting.  There would be  no point in staying on.

Should Shaq retire? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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